If you ever procrastinate on Youtube you may have come across ‘reaction’ videos, these videos rang from setting somebody up to do something and recording their reactions, such as making them play a scary game , recording reactions of audiences at events or simply recording yourself playing a game/watching a movie and reacting to it. The most popular reaction videos belong to a bunch of performers called The Fine Brothers, they have a popular format where they show kids/teens/elders pop culture stuff and then ask them questions about what they have just seen. for example their last video was entitled TEENS REACT TO FULLERHOUSE, was released 2 days ago:
At the time of writing YouTube reported that this video had slightly over 2.3 million views, that is 2.3 million views over 2 days. The Fine Brothers release 3-4 videos a week, each getting millions of views. One of the ways in which people on YouTube make some money is by putting adverts on their channel and videos, when somebody clicks or views an advert YouTube makes some money and shares it with the content creator, when you release 3-4 videos a week, each getting millions of hits you start to make a reasonable amount of money. The reason you may have heard the of the Fine Brothers this week is because of this video they posted a few days ago, which I can not show you because they deleted it, but I can ironicly link to a video of popular vlogger Boogie ‘reacting’ to it:
The gist of the video was the brothers had decided to allow other channels and ‘YouTubers’ to create reaction videos of their own, with similar styles to their fine bothers clips, built on a revenue sharing revenue model.
The Internet reacted very badly to this video. Sometimes it is quite hard to pull out legitimate concerns from the online pitchfork mob, but reaction concerns were around. The fine brothers applying to trade mark the term ‘react’ when they were not being the first to do react videos, just the biggest channel to be churning these things out.
Another interesting concern from the community seemed to be that it was just ‘not the way youtubers work’. Many vloggers popular with teens suggested that creating a X-Factor like brand for anything on the platform was against the whole point of the You in YouTube as the site gave them a platform to go against these brands and they saw this as an invasion of their space… Yet it was fully supported by YouTube who stated
“This is brand building in the YouTube age — rising media companies building their brands through collaborations with creators around the world.”
So while Google/YouTube talk about the YouTube age, they really want to see more of this international X-Factor franchise thing on their platform. Various ex-employees of the brothers came about (if you believe the Reddit verification moderators) and main concern voiced from them was that these guys were doing nasty tv network things that we shouldn’t be seeing on youtube.
The brothers released a disastrous apology video that has also disappeared and I can not link to, but I am sure there is a reaction video to it if you look. Still, it can be summed up as saying ‘We are sorry you are stupid and we are sorry we are not sorry’. There was an even bigger backlash to that before finally giving up and ditching their idea all together.
Still, the whole thing makes me wonder about what this YouTube code of honour actually is. A quick look over the BBC 3 catalogue is quite revealing about what media young adults are consuming, it’s content created bu their peers, particuarly on YouTube. They value the voice that the platform gives them and they seem really aware that this isn’t the same as TV land. I agree the Fine Brothers idea was pretty bad and the way they went about it worse, but why does that breach the line of Youtubers vs TV networks but what Disney are doing different with Maker Studios doesn’t?